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Start talking: Real communication in a virtual world

Put your hands up and step away from the screen. That’s the Cliff Notes version of Pope Francis’ message for World Communications Day. Okay, I may be taking some liberties, but that’s definitely the general idea, and I couldn’t agree more, even if I am terribly addicted to all of my various screens.

The pope’s message and related comments from Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, are spot on, and I’m not just saying that because they affirm what I wrote in my book Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship or in numerous columns and articles on parenting, marriage, and life in general. Read more

Marriage: It’s hard work, if it’s done right

In honor of Sister Anne Bryan Smollin, CSJ, who died last week, I thought I would run this Life Lines column from last July. It was sparked by the marriage workshop she offered in the Albany Diocese. The column also ties in nicely with my chat this morning on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio. I was talking about marriage and faith. At the end of this column is a link to a follow-up piece I wrote called “Prescription for a Better Marriage: Start dating.” Read more

Prescription for a better marriage: Start dating

About eight or nine years ago, my aunt gave me a lovely picnic basket backpack, complete with cloth napkins, plastic wine glasses, everything you’d need for a romantic al fresco meal in a park or on a beach. And every year since then I have considered donating it to a school garage sale because, quite frankly, romantic picnics just weren’t on our “to do” list.

But something stopped me from throwing that backpack into the Hefty bags along with old puzzles and board games bound for the bargain bin. I had a tiny glimmer of hope that some day we would dust off that backpack and take it for a spin. Read more

My breakup with Facebook. Why I hit “delete.”

Ever since joining Facebook a few years ago, I’ve been fairly addicted. Okay, super addicted. I loved my Facebook world. Too much. We definitely had a love-hate relationship, Facebook and I. Some sort of weird, dysfunctional co-dependency. I’d “deactivate” on occasion to give myself a brief respite from Facebook’s demand for more and more of my time and energy, but I’d always come back, usually sooner than I’d planned. I couldn’t stay away. Until this week, when I decided to leave Facebook for good. I didn’t just deactivate; I hit “delete,” which means I cut the ties completely. Read more